The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance 1.4 – A Showdown With The Baddest Skeksis

by Gary Catig

Hup is still imprisoned, singing in his cell to pass the time. When told to quiet down by the guards, he sings louder in an act of defiance. Suddenly a giant winged creature with a glowing face breaks in squawking and strategically blowing out the torches in the room. The guards a clearly spooked and scurry away in fear. Luckily for the Podling, it was Deet in disguise and she frees her friend.

[*Spoilers For 1.4 Ahead!]

A Path to Freedom

Brea is exploring the secret passageway when she comes upon a room with symbols of the seven Gelfling clans. Inscriptions on the wall inform her to arrange the clans in order and she spends a fair amount of time solving the puzzle. It’s not until she realizes they are all equal that the room is activated and a giant stone golem, named Lore, is formed. He is to serve as her protector and guide her to the Circle of the Suns. There she will find the key to freeing her people from the Skeksis. As they are about to leave on their quest, Brea’s sister, Seladon, catches them.

A New Pecking Order

The Skeksis are celebrating the return of The Ornamentalist with a huge feast. The General and The Chamberlain get into a heated argument over how Rian is not apprehended and the lack of progress in fixing the essence machine. As the Emperor observes his deteriorating body, he loses patience with The Chamberlain and orders The General to take over and be his new adviser.

The Scientist repairs his machine but warns his leader not to use it too much or The Darkening will continue to spread. He is ignored and The General uses Gurjin as a test subject to persuade the Gelfling to give up Rian. Before Gurjin is completely drained, The Emperor comes in to stop it and deploys his new second in command to Ha’rar.

Looking to redeem himself, The Chamberlain summons the menacing Hunter to track down Rian. He is the Skeksis version of General Kael from Willow, down to the skull mask. If The Chamberlain can bring the wanted Gelfling back before his rival, maybe he can regain his seat at the leader’s side.

Reconnecting with Thra

Aughra is still trying to determine what’s wrong with the world. A sign of an arrow leads her to the same Sanctuary Tree that set Deet on her mission. There she meets a Mystic known as The Archer. He cryptically tells her to look deep into Thra to find and hear the planet’s song once again.

The Birth of the Resistance

Night is approaching and Rian stops by a Podling bar for a rest. He catches the eye of some of the female patrons as he’s asked to dance and even bought drinks. He grabs the attention of some Gelfling visitors as well including Tavra, who is sent to capture him, and Naia, Gurjin’s sister. Both have intentions of bringing Rian to justice.

Rian convinces Naia’s companion, Kylan, to dreamfast with him to learn the truth. Despite the rumors the wanted criminal’s mind is infected, Naia and Tavra also join in. While the group share in Rian’s memories, his father, Ordon, enters the bar and participates as well.

They all witness the true nature of the Skeksis and the energy created from the dreamfast forms a dream etching on the table. It is the same symbol Brea saw in her vision. The group agree they must warn their respective clans and mobilize against the Skeksis. Tavra and Naia decide to go to the Castle of the Crystal to free Gurjin.

Rian and Ordon race back to the Stone in the Wood but are tracked down by The Hunter. They devise a plan to take out their pursuer by offering up Rian as bait. An unfortunate tumble causes him to be cornered with The Hunter on one side and a patch of ravenous gobbles, flesh eating spore-like creatures, on the other.

It was all a ploy as Ordon ambushes their enemy shattering his mask. Father and son fight back but are still overpowered by the much larger Skeksis. Rian’s dad sacrifices himself pushing The Hunter into the gobbles and falls in in the process.

Hup and Deet find a distraught Rian as he mourns the loss of his father. The sacrifice was all for naught as The Hunter proves too formidable for the gobbles. He breaks free from their grasp and grabs Rian while he escapes.

The season so far has been enjoyable but this episode is in particular was the first jaw dropping one. The introduction of The Hunter shows how truly frightening the Skeksis can be. Unlike his peers, The Hunter hasn’t become slovenly, fat and complacent. He prefers being out in the wilderness stalking prey and staying on top of his game. The show has limited the use of CGI to focus attention on the puppetry, but it was necessary here showing The Hunter swing through trees to showcase how threatening and agile he is.

The emotional beats in the final scenes hit hard with Rian and his father’s reconciliation, only to have Ordon die so soon afterwards. The final battle was a beauty to watch and was well choreographed considering the limited movement of puppets. Plus, the reveal of The Hunter’s extra set of arms was an awesome shot, worthy of a comic splash page (Though more subtle, the reveal of the Archer’s extra appendages while shooting arrows was almost as cool).

The Gelflings are at least given a fighting chance now to rebel against the Skeksis. Members of different clans are more inclined to unify and work together and off in Ha’rar, Brea is on a quest to find the key to their success. However, there are still obstacles to overcome so it will be interesting how the rest of the season plays out.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance can be currently viewed on Netflix.

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